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In November of 2009, twenty-year old Catherine was a Division I athlete at a top-notch University, and in the best shape of her life. During a run, she noticed swelling in her right leg. Thinking it was a sports injury, she ignored the swelling for three days until one night she realized her leg was too swollen to put on jeans. A few days later, Catherine found herself in near-critical condition at the Alta Bates Intensive Care Unit. Two blood clots were lodged in her leg, two pieces of which had broken off and gone to her lungs.

The doctors discovered a genetic blood clotting disorder, called Factor V Leiden. About 15% of the US Population has this genetic condition. Because of factors such as birth control medication, hormones, and pregnancy, women are more likely to get life-threatening bloods clots as a result of this condition. Unfortunately, a blood clot is the first symptom.

Catherine is lucky to have survived, and has made it her goal to prevent other young women from going through this traumatic experience. Every year, between 100,000 and 180,000 people die from blood clots in the US. The National Women’s Hematology Foundation aims to battle blot clots and save lives.

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